Nineteen years in the game and New Edition are still going at it as though they were still hungry kids roaming the project hallways in Boston.
The guys are in some serious rehearsals for their self-titled tour, which kicks off in Las Vegas on June 28, and no quarter is being given. A hoarse Ricky Bell can attest to that.
"We've been rapping [about the outings] for a minute," the usually silky voiced Bell said Monday, sounding as raspy as Jadakiss. "We're probably going into the studio next year, but what we wanted to do was mesh together as a group onstage first before we went into the studio. Plus it's a better way to reintroduce ourselves into the community by letting them see us first. Performing is what we like to do best. That's how we started off in Boston performing together. We figured that's the best way to get back together as opposed to going back into the studio."
Bell said that he, Ronnie DeVoe, Mike Bivins, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant are ready to roll out with openers En Vogue, but the 2002 New Edition will be without Bobby Brown.
"He's not going to be on this particular tour, but for the 20th anniversary ... It's not going to be a 20th anniversary if he's not a part of it," insisted Bell. "He'll definitely be a part of it in some shape or form. Touring, recording, the TV show, movie, he'll be a part of it. The timing didn't work out [for this tour]."
Even though the guys haven't been together since 1996's Home Again tour, Bell said the chemistry is still there.
"We've been through a lot in our lives, personally and as a group," he explained. "Everyone's attitude is straightforward. We've been friends. We still hang out with each other even when we're not working. All of us have a very mature and very humble attitude of how this is supposed to go."
To let slick Rick tell it, the shows are going to go off without any special effects, but fans will still get plenty of entertainment.
"The game plan is simple," he said. "It's just going to be raw. No theatrics, no magic, just straight-up performances. Songs, stepping, dancing hard. An hour and a half of straight-up us and our six-piece band. We're going to do [solo] songs, but we're all going to perform them together as opposed to one of us breaking off. Everybody is going to do everything."
While out on the road, the guys are going to start writing New Edition's autobiography as well as planning their next album, Bell said.
New Edition tour dates, according to their spokesperson:
- 6/28 - Las Vegas NV @ House of Blues
- 6/29 - Universal, CA @ Universal Ampitheatre
- 6/30 - Oakland, CA @ Paramount Theatre
- 7/4 - Atlanta, GA @ Chastain Park
- 7/5 - Baltimore, MD @ Pier 6 Pavilion
- 7/6 - Cleveland, OH @ State Theater
- 7/12 - Washington, DC @ Constitution Hall
- 7/13 - New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall
- 7/14 - Richmond, VA @ Landmark Theater
- 7/18 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Heinz Hall
- 7/19 - Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theater
- 7/20 - Hartford, CT @ Oakdale Theater
- 7/21 - Boston, MA @ FleetBoston Pavilion
- 7/25 - Cincinnati, OH @ Proctor & Gamble Hall
- 7/26 - Detroit, MI @ Fox Theatre
- 7/27 - Chicago, IL @ Arie Crown Theater
- 7/28 - Kansas City, MO @ Midland Theater
- 7/31 - Miami, FL @ James L. Knight Center
- 8/2 - Houston, TX @ Arena Theater
- 8/3 - Memphis, TN @ Samstown Casino
- 8/4 - New Orleans, LA @ Saenger Theater
- 8/9 - Indianapolis, IN @ Clowes Hall
- 8/10 - Norfolk, VA @ Chrysler Hall
- 8/11 - Greensboro, NC @ Auditorium Theater